Would you like to make a difference to peoples’ lives? Are you enthusiastic, passionate and committed to providing an excellent service to the public? Would you like to be part of a supportive team, learn new skills and feel you have really done something worthwhile in your local community? If your answer is ‘yes’, there may be a role for you at Citizens Advice.
We have no paid vacancies at present.
The Citizens Advice Service is an independent organisation, and provides free, confidential and impartial advice to everybody regardless of race, sex, disability, sexuality or nationality. At Citizens Advice East Hampshire we provide face to face, telephone and email advice on over 14,000 problems for over 5,000 clients every year.
Our clients and volunteers come from all walks of life. We are committed to providing an independent advice service, and volunteering opportunities, to the whole community. We would be very interested to hear from you if you would like to contribute to our work.
A selection of volunteering roles that we have to offer are:
- Admin assistant
- Research and Campaigns worker
This is the first stage in adviser training, where you interview clients over the telephone or face to face. This is a dynamic and focused role, which includes:
- Greeting clients and explaining the assessment process.
- Exploring the client’s problem(s) and situation.
- Assessing the risk/urgency of the client’s issue and their ability to deal with the problem themselves.
- Researching the law in relation to the client’s issue.
- Identifying the next step that needs to be taken.
- Summarising the content of the interview for the client and explain what happens next.
- Ensuring clients know they can return if necessary.
- Keeping detailed computerised records
Specific qualifications or experience are not required to train to be an assessor. The training to be an assessor is approximately 6-12 weeks, requiring a commitment of at least one day per week in the office, along with self-study and a few group training sessions.
Once a volunteer is fully competent in the assessor role they may wish to train further to become an adviser. Being an adviser is a very varied role. As an adviser you will:
- Interview clients by appointment in the bureau, over the phone, at outreach sessions and by email.
- Give information from the Citizens Advice electronic information system and other sources.
- Give advice in explaining the choices and consequences the client faces.
- Give practical help by writing letters, making phone calls, completing forms, doing calculations and even representing clients at tribunals.
- Refer clients to other agencies if they are better placed to help.
- Keep records of all clients' cases.
- Prevent future problems by identifying issues that affect a lot of clients.
You don't need any particular qualifications or experience to train as an adviser. All sorts of people are CA advisers. Advisers don't need to know it all! We provide all trainee advisers with a comprehensive training programme that will give you the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to clients.
You won't be left alone after you are trained. There will always be supervisors and more experienced advisers to give you support, advice and guidance.
Once you have qualified as a Generalist Adviser, you will have the opportunity to develop further skills and increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge and specialise in a particular area such as:
- Welfare Benefits
- Domestic Abuse
Admin assistants help to ensure the smooth running of the office, and are often a link between the public and the advisers. This role would suit people who are methodical, organised and patient. As a admin assistant, you will:
- Arrange appointments and answer phone calls.
- Point out self-help information on the Citizens Advice Service.
- Keep track of the waiting room, and keep clients updated with waiting times.
- Keep records and enter data onto the computer systems.
- Scan paper records onto the computer systems
- Liaise with office staff and volunteers
- As needed, greet client and other visitors and make them feel welcome.
Research and Campaign workers
Research and Campaign workers use information from problems brought into the bureau by clients to help bring about real change by influencing local and national policy. So if you shout “It’s just not right!” or “it’s just not fair!”, when you come across an issue that you feel is unjust, then research and campaign work is for you.
This is a flexible role, working with the district Research and Campaign team. It can involve:
- Completing and collating evidence forms that record information about the problems clients’ experience.
- Identifying and raising issues in the bureau and at meetings.
- Training staff and volunteers in spotting particular issues and completing evidence forms.
- Conducting research and writing reports on local issues.
- Media campaigning and liaising with other bureaux and agencies to provide a voice for clients.
All Citizens Advice Bureaux are independent charities, governed by their own board of trustees, who are ultimately responsible for the quality and range of the service. Day-to-day control is delegated to the Chief Executive, but Trustees:
- Set the overall direction and support the development of the bureau.
- Ensure the bureau meets the needs of the local community and the Citizens Advice membership standards.
- Employ CA staff and control bureau finances.
- Earn and retain the respect of important and influential people and organisations in the community, including funding bodies.
- Ensure the bureau complies with relevant laws.
A CA trustee board needs people from all sections of the community with a wide range of different skills, experience and perspectives. The board tends to meet in the evenings, making this a flexible role, which trustees often fit around a full-time job. A full induction into the trustee board's role and responsibilities will be provided.
We always have vacancies for volunteers at Citizens Advice East Hampshire and we would love to hear from you (use our contact form) if you're interested in volunteering with us.